The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe
(the Biblical truth I have attempted to express in this message must be a component of any volume of Biblical Doctrine 101).
The Bible teaches that born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are spirits, united to the Spirit of God. Conversely, we possess bodies and their earthy members and faculties.
"That which is born of the Spirit is spirit… Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you" (John 3:6; Romans 8:9).
"Every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the lust of concupiscence (longing for the forbidden), even as the Gentiles which know not God" (I Thessalonians 4:4-5).
The Apostle Paul plainly reveals this delineation between the being of our selves and the temple of our body in his mandate recorded in the book of Romans:
"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:11-13).
Note the distinction. Our innermost spiritual being - "yourselves" - passed through death and resurrection with the Lord Jesus. This resulted in our person being "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." We therefore yield our selves unto God as "alive from the dead." Conversely, our body remains "mortal." It is still susceptible to sin. We must therefore yield this component of our being as an "instrument" that belongs to God, but remains so gravely damaged that sin can still reign in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Paul continues this reasoning and reckoning in both Romans 7 and 8:
"With the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin" (Romans 7:25).
"If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:10-11).
Believers are living spirits, alive in the life of Christ, who dwell in bodies still damaged by sin and the mortality it produces. Our Lord dwells within our innermost being and selfhood as the Life of our lives. As we trust and submit to Him, He enables us to "possess our vessel in sanctification and honor" by mortifying (putting to death) fleshly impulses and inclinations that conflict with the will of God. Through the Holy Spirit, we put to death the sin in our flesh upon which God has passed condemnation (Romans 8:3). We serve as executioners.
Consider, for example, the temptation to bitterness. I'll refer to "Leonard" in the following example because I don't know any Leonards :) .
"Heavenly Father, Leonard's actions hurt me. I believe they were wrong, based on the teaching of your Word and the negative consequences that ensued. I therefore feel angry toward him and am tempted to recompense his harmful actions toward me with my own toward him. However, I know Your Word calls me to love my enemies, bless those who curse me, and pray for those who despitefully use me (Matthew 5:44). I also know that the love of Christ dwells within me to enable such grace and mercy. Still, in my flesh, I feel the impulse and inclination to bestow vengeance rather than mercy. I therefore choose to put such fleshly expressions to death by remembering and affirming who Christ is in me, and who I am in Him. The desire, no, the delight of my spirit is to love Leonard despite the contrary sensations of the flesh (Romans 7:22). This is the truth of Your Word regardless of any feeling or thought in my flesh. This I choose to believe and affirm, and I trust You to lead and enable me accordingly."
Such an altar built within our hearts by faith leads to a path of relating to Leonard and dealing with the situation based on the life of Christ in our hearts, as opposed to the death that still characterizes our earthly members and faculties. Indeed, we will be far more equipped to relate to Leonard in a manner that may bring repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation with our brother. Moreover, we will walk in the love of Christ and the truth of who we are in Him rather than being dominated by fleshly reactions of the earthly vessel in which we live. Living spirits, alive in the life of Christ. Mortal bodies, whose impulses and inclinations contrary to God's will must be put to death. These are the present conditions of born again believers, who among many other offices in God's purposes, serve as executioners.
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."
"Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."